Characters: Andy, Jack, Ianto, Tosh, Owen.
Summary: This is it, Andy’s probationary period is over and he’s about to find out whether or not he’ll get to remain on the team.
Word Count: 1259
Written For: DottyWho, who wanted a sequel to my fic ‘Probie’
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Halfway through an unusually quiet afternoon, Jack appeared in the doorway to his office. “Andy?” he called across the Hub.
When the former police constable looked up from the report he was reading, Jack beckoned, pointing towards his office before going back inside. Andy gave a curt nod, closed the file, and got to his feet, his legs suddenly feeling like jelly. Looked like this was it, the moment of truth. He’d known all along this day was coming, he just hadn’t quite expected it so soon; the last three weeks had flown past in a whirlwind of utter insanity, which according to his new colleagues was par for the course with Torchwood. Now Andy’s month-long probationary period was officially over and he was about to find out whether or not he still had a job with the super-secret organisation. If not, he knew he’d be Retconned and shipped off elsewhere, never to return to Cardiff in case his memory was triggered by the weirdness that abounded here. He couldn’t even bear to think about that possibility; Cardiff was his home, he’d grown up here, had never so much as considered leaving.
Feeling as though he was walking to his execution, Andy trudged up the steps leading to Jack’s office, knocked on the open door, and entered, closing it behind him. Whatever happened next, he’d rather not have the rest of the team listening in.
Jack gestured towards the hard wooden chair placed in front of his desk and Andy, grateful that he wasn’t expected to stand for whatever was coming, seated himself, hands folded in his lap so Jack wouldn’t see that he was shaking like a leaf. This was even scarier than facing down an enraged Weevil.
The silence was oppressive; Jack didn’t speak immediately, busy shuffling through the papers in the file he had open in front of him. Finally he looked up and indicated the sheaf of papers. “I had everyone submit their own evaluation of your performance over the last four weeks.”
Andy had to swallow hard before he could say anything. “How bad is it?” he asked nervously.
“Hm, let’s see. Well, Owen thinks your first aid training could prove an asset in the field, you have a reasonable aptitude for the basics, but he’s threatening to tape your mouth shut the next time you start singing in the SUV. I gather that has less to do with your singing voice than with your choice of songs.”
“What’s wrong with Madonna?” Andy asked indignantly.
“No idea, you’d have to ask Owen. Now Tosh…” Jack flipped through the papers. “Where is it? Ah, apparently your computer skills are even worse than Owen’s, which is saying something.”
Andy’s heart sank. “I only crashed the system once! And I’m pretty sure the lockdown wasn’t my fault.”
Jack waved that away with a careless gesture. “Lockdowns happen whenever anything potentially dangerous is detected; the bio-hazard detection sensors are extremely sensitive. On the plus side, at least now we know they react badly to getting soy sauce splashed on them. Ianto’s working on moving the ones in the kitchen to less hazardous positions.” Jack shuffled through his papers again. “Now, as for Ianto’s assessment… Oh dear.” Jack winced. “Ouch!”
“What?” Andy hadn’t been feeling very optimistic to start with, but he was beyond worried now.
“Two words, in big red capital letters, triple underlined: Spell check. He gets extremely annoyed when he has to correct other people’s reports for spelling and grammar.” Jack read further down, frowning. “Huh! In your driving assessment, he claims you’re a better driver than I am! I’ll have to have words with him about that later. As for the written test he gave you… seventy-eight percent, could be better but at least that’s a passing score.” Jack glanced through the rest of the report. “Okay, I think we’ve covered all the salient points there.” Gathering the papers together and closing the folder, he rested his elbows on it, his fingers laced together. “I wanted the rest of the team’s input, but ultimately my evaluation is the only one that matters. You’ve made some pretty spectacular mistakes over the past month, haven’t you?”
Andy slumped, gloom welling up inside him to replace his earlier nerves. “I know.”
“Torchwood is unlike any other work environment in the world. We frequently come across the unknown and the unfathomable, things and creatures we’ve never seen before, and know less than nothing about. Mistakes get made and all we can ever hope is that the consequences aren’t too disastrous. The truth is even after all this time we don’t know everything; every member of this team is still learning, and that includes me. The universe is a vast place, filled with mysteries, both wonderful and dangerous. We do the best we can and we try not to screw up too often. What matters is that we keep on learning from our mistakes and do whatever it takes to minimise the risk to ourselves and the rest of the city. We can’t afford to be careless; people’s lives, both human and alien, depend on us.”
“I understand.” Andy stared down at his hands.
“So, my evaluation.” Jack sat back in his chair, picking up his pen and fiddling with it. “Your hand-to-hand combat skills are coming along reasonably well but could still use some work, marksmanship is still a bit shaky though; thirty minutes minimum on the range every day until I’m satisfied. Watch your spelling unless you want to get served decaf; I’d suggest investing in a dictionary. Ianto can be a tough taskmaster when he chooses to be. Owen thinks you’d benefit from some more advanced first aid training. Oh, and you’ll be working with Tosh on your computer skills whenever she’s not busy with more urgent matters. Got that?”
“Got it,” Andy replied, nodding, and then he blinked, sitting up straighter and staring at Jack in confusion. “Wait a minute, you mean…?”
Jack stood up, grinning that too wide, too white grin, and offered Andy his hand. “Andy Davidson, you may now consider yourself a fully-fledged Torchwood agent. Welcome aboard.”
Jumping to his feet, Andy shook Jack’s hand enthusiastically. “Thank you, Jack. Thank you!”
“Just remember what I’ve told you.”
“I will. Count on it. I won’t let you down.” He’d been so sure he’d be out on his ear that he couldn’t help wondering if he was dreaming.
“Good. Right, back to work; I’m sure you’ve got plenty to keep you busy.”
“Tons,” Andy agreed, grinning from ear to ear as he turned away from Jack’s desk. “I’ll get on with it right away. You won’t regret this.”
“I should hope not.”
Exiting Jack’s office, Andy found the rest of the team waiting for him. Ianto and Owen shook his hand, while Tosh gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “Congratulations, Andy.”
That was as far as any sort of celebration went, because at that moment the Rift alarms went off. Tosh immediately hurried over to her computers and starting pulling up everything she could on the alert. Ianto was already putting his coat on. “Andy, with me. Tosh, send the coordinates through to the SUV as soon as you have them, please.”
“I’m already on it.”
Grabbing his jacket and his gun, Andy hurried after Ianto towards the garage, checking the rest of his equipment as he went. He was a Torchwood agent and he had a job to do, protecting his city from whatever just came through the Rift. Bring it on!